Favorite Antagonists

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Favorite Antagonists

Mar 7, 2023, 8:31 pm

My daughter was noting that in almost all my little plot blurbs for theoretical asian dramas the antagonists are organized crime. (My fantasy/sf antagonists seem to be a little more diverse.)

How about you all? What kind of opposition do you most enjoy seeing the protagonist(s) overcome? Evil governments? Natural disasters? Their own inner demons?

Mar 8, 2023, 4:45 am

My favourite (which is very hard to find/write) is simply a similar person with a different set of priorities/morals (not evil just differently weighted). Eg the ViceMinisters of two countries competing for the same resource, or princesses aspiring to the same throne. Too often one is the 'anything goes' black/evil ones, but it's far more interesting if they're both grey and have to choose where they draw their own lines they will not cross, and the consequences thereof.

Battle Ground has a novel take where the antagonist of book 1 is the protagonist of book 2, and they alternate viewpoints through the series. I thought the author should have released books 1 and 2 with random sequence so some read the nominal book2 first and have more empathy with that character. It does work surprisingly well.

Mar 11, 2023, 9:17 am

>2 reading_fox:
It sounds interesting. Since I haven't got to these yet, maybe I'll try reading book 2 first and see how that works. :)

I remember Lois McMaster Bujold talking about how in Komarr the antagonists were a group that most American fiction would have depicted as the good guys... scrappy nationalists trying to gain independence from the evil colonial Empire.

I think I have a certain fondness for antagonists that aren't people. Although its rarely the focus of the story, I tend to have a lot of man-vs-nature scenes. Also the "big bad" in my EFP is actually a magical artifact whose "evil" qualities are just accidental. (The god who created it was trying something new, and it didn't work quite right.)

I have this feeling that man vs nature isn't as common anymore but maybe I've been looking in the wrong places?

I know I've seen evil governments, but to me that doesn't usually count as "not a person", IMHO. (Although if anyone can think of an example of a government that manifests itself as an antagonist without using people to do so, I'd love to hear about it.)